Many of us appreciated the President mentioning in his State of the Union address that “tough decisions” had to be made regarding offshore drilling. People have had doubts about his seriousness in regards to domestic energy policy because our Department of the Interior is dragging its feet on Virginia’s offshore oil and gas leases. Still, we’ve held out hope that America’s voice will be heard on energy.
And now Vince Haley at Big Government reports this shocker:In April of 2009, during a discussion about offshore exploration in San Francisco, Salazar said that President Obama directed him to “to make sure that we have an open and transparent government” and that “these are not decisions that are going to be made behind closed doors.” Salazar went on to say that President Obama wanted to make sure that DOI was “maximizing the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what it is that they want to do.”
Yet, more than four months after the comment period ended, the Department of the Interior has failed to make any public announcement about the results, even though sources have told American Solutions for months the comments show a 2-1 advantage in support of offshore drilling.
It took American Solutions almost four months and the power of the Freedom of Information Act to finally uncover indirect confirmation that, out of over 530,000 comments submitted, pro-drilling comments outnumbered anti-drilling comments by a 2-1 margin.
In an email dated October 27, 2009, Liz Birnbaum, director of the Minerals Management Service, informs other Interior officials that a preliminary tabulation of the results of the comment period had not yet gone to Secretary Salazar, adding “[s]o the Secretary can honestly say in response to any questions that he’s [SIC] has not yet seen the analysis of the comments – staff is still working on it. I did, however, confirm to him the 2-1 split that these guys [at American Solutions] are emphasizing.”
When a public employee is on record condoning purposeful deception of the American people, the taxpayer should no longer have to fund his or her job. Secretary Salazar should immediately fire Liz Birnbaum for purposefully deceiving him, and in turn, the American people. It’s not possible for the Secretary to honor pledges of openness, honestly, and transparency in government if his staff is going to deliberately undermine such pledges.
Public opinion polls already measure near 70% support for offshore drilling, so the results from a public comment period that reflect the same public sentiment should not be surprising. But after all this talk of wanting the public’s input, Secretary Salazar and his team must find it a real stumbling block to have to explain all their anti-energy development actions in light of the comment period results to which they previously attached such great importance.
As Haley notes in his article, it’s astonishing that the Obama administration is dragging its feet on offshore drilling at a time when we’re so desperate for economic recovery and jobs. It’s no surprise that an overwhelming majority of Americans support offshore drilling: it will provide millions of good jobs and billions in revenue, and it will make us more secure by reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Mr. President, we appreciate you asking for our input. We’ve provided it, so thank you for accepting it. With no time to waste, it’s time to listen to the American people – finally – and drill, baby, drill!
- Sarah Palin